Why rising energy bills will kill the work from home dream

The average British worker goes into the office just one and a half days a week, according to consultancy Advanced Workplace Associates. Average attendance was just 29 per cent across UK offices, its research found.

In London, the Office for National Statistics said 37 per cent of professionals in the capital continued to stay away from the office in July. Prior to the pandemic, only 14 per cent of Londoners worked remotely.

Remote workers use an extra 75 per cent gas per day during winter and 25 per cent more electricity than those who go to the office five-days a week, according to estimates from Uswitch.

Everyday uses of household appliances while working from home can add up to push bills hundreds of pounds higher, analysis has found.

Boiling the kettle three times a day will add £8 a month to energy bills, or £100 a year, under the October energy price cap, according to calculations based on figures from Citizens Advice.

Similarly, running a desktop computer for eight hours a day will cost £35.68 a month. Using the oven to cook lunch will add £23.42 to the monthly bills.

Even though returning to the office could mean adding commuting costs, employees are still likely to be better off by £1,500.

The average commute by car costs £1,006 a year, latest pump prices from the RAC show. This is based on the average daily commute being 5,040 miles a year, according to research from comparison site Confused.com.

The typical car in the UK runs 38.8 miles per gallon, data from research firm NimbleFins has found. Renny Biggins, of trade group The Investing and Saving Alliance, said the rise in the energy bills would be even worse news for those working from home.

Even if it only costs an additional £700 a year to work from home, a basic rate taxpayer would need to earn nearly £900 a year more just to cover the cost, he calculated.

“Even with high fuel and train costs, it may prove more cost effective to pay any commuting costs and work in a warm office,” he said.

Higher energy bills could help some of Britain’s largest employers, who have been attempting to lure workers back to the office and in some cases issuing mandates to return.

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